Industry News: Aaron Peirsol Hosts Race for the Oceans Event

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 24. AARON Peirsol recently hosted his first "Race for the Oceans" open water swim, which took place in Fort Myers, Fla. Race for the Oceans is a campaign started by Peirsol in 2007 to engage swimmers and swimming fans in ocean conservation through a website, www.RacefortheOceans.org, and open water swimming events raising funds and support for Oceana. Peirsol's inaugural Race for the Oceans event was made possible through the sponsorships of Lee County Sports Authority, Pure Sport, Bank of America, Toyota, Go Swim, and USA Sports Clinics.

"It means a lot to me that all of these swimmers came out to support my first Race for the Oceans event," said Peirsol. "Protecting the oceans is a cause that's very close to my heart, having grown up along the removed pacific Coast – it's a great feeling helping an organization like Oceana, which is making a real difference addressing the underlying threats to the world's oceans."

Fresh from his outstanding gold medal performance in Beijing, Peirsol – the "King of the Backstroke" – invited swimmers of all ages to participate in the two-day event, which featured a 1K and 5K swim for master's and youth swimmers 13-18 as well as a 500-yard junior swim for those 12 years old and younger. The event also included a beach clean up, an open water clinic and in-ocean training sessions with Peirsol and U.S. Hall-of-Fame swimmer Rowdy Gaines.

"I'm excited that we could host the first race in beautiful Ft. Myers Beach," said Peirsol. "My hope is that swimmers and spectators attending these events are reminded of the importance of protecting places like this, which rely on healthy and abundant ocean ecosystems."

A native of Newport Beach, Calif., Peirsol is an avid open water swimmer and surfer. This has allowed him to see first-hand the threats facing the oceans. He was inspired to team up with Oceana over a year ago due to the organization's track record of effective campaigns that protect ocean habitat and sea life from destructive fishing practices and pollution.

"Aaron is a terrific spokesperson for the oceans and is a role model for anybody who cares about the troubles facing the oceans," said Maureen McGregor. "Seeing Aaron work with all the swimmers this weekend was great, as was getting to meet so many avid swimmers who care about conservation."

Special thanks to Oceana for contributing this report.